EPB plans to hire warehouse space of about 10,000
to 30,000 square feet for ex-stock goods
Mar 25 - 31, 2002
The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has launched a
scheme for marketing of Pakistani products in Africa, Eastern Europe,
South America, Central Asia Republics, Australia and New Zealand.
It may be recalled that such marketing development
by foreign countries in Germany were quite popular in the 60s as a
substitute to the special fairs which developed in the following years
to be the main show cases of the exporting countries.
The EPB is considering to revive the programme to
encourage and promote export consortia to establish sales and service
offices in foreign countries.
Tariq Ikram EPB chief has already discussed the
parameters of the warehousing scheme with persons engaged in export,.
warehousing and freight forwarding.
In order to carry out the scheme, EPB plans to hire
warehouse space of about 10,000 to 30,000 square feet for ex-stock
goods, surgical instruments and other goods.
The space will be offered free of cost to the
exporters initially for a period of one year. The expenses will be
borne by the EPB from Export Development Fund. Altogether the
investment in this ambitious global scheme could be estimated at $15
to $20 million.
In fact the warehouse scheme is the part of an
overall marketing campaign for Pakistani product to enhance exports
which have registered a 0.4 per cent decline after September 11
events. The decline in exports was however offset due to a drastic cut
in imports, which have also registered a decline of 9.6 per cent
during the period.
Pakistan's total exports during the July-February
period of the current financial year stood at $5.809 billion against
$5.988 billion during the same period last year.
Besides purchase of space for warehouses, holding
trade exhibitions and publicity through media abroad, the EPB has also
launched an education programme providing guidelines to the potential
exporters especially to operate in the EU countries. The State Bank of
Pakistan has reduced the financial charges on export refinancing to a
record low of 7 per cent. Dr. Ishrat Hussain, governor SBP while
talking to PAGE at a seminar said that it was a long-standing
demand of the exporters to reduce the rate on export refinancing which
the SBP accepted. He expressed the hope that the financial facilities
being provided by the SBP would produce good results and the exporters
will rise to the occasion by utilizing the facility more productively.
The government is also considering announcing a
package of incentives for the exporters who suffered financial crunch
following the cancellation of orders by the importers in the backdrop
of September 11 events. According to an estimate, a huge loss of over
$2 billion was imposed on the economy in Pakistan in the aftermath of
the terrorist acts in Washington and New York in September this year.
The European countries, according to EPB offer
tremendous opportunities for Pakistani products after adoption of Euro
as a single currency for 11 countries.
Shaukat Iqbal, Chairman of KCCI's sub-committee on
exports however said that the Chamber has not been informed about the
warehouse scheme being launched by the EBP. He said that since the
private sector plays the key role in promotion of domestic or foreign
trade, the representative bodies of the private sector should be taken
into confidence to make these schemes transparent and successful.
The economy has got through the difficult times and
there are strong signals at macro-economic level which would certainly
translate onto the micro level in the coming days. The agriculture
which a major contributor to the GDP has produced surpluses in wheat,
rice, sugar and cotton despite facing water shortages. This surplus
situation can help the export sector especially in view of Afghanistan
situation which finally settling. There are tremendous opportunities
to enhance our exports by selling the surplus in Afghanistan for which
international support is required.
The government has however chalked out a policy to
export of surplus wheat in a shortest possible time with view to
create sufficient storage space before the arrival of a new crop.
Tariq Ikram feels that it's a challenge for
exporters to enhance Pakistan's shares in the EU market, which has
allowed duty free access for Pakistani products except some textile
products and yarn. The manufacturing sector in Pakistan can carve a
respectable place in the Eastern Europe by meeting the market demand
Accelerated efforts are indeed required to enhance
foreign trade as the exports are likely to decline further in the
second half of the current year because of the lagged impact of
cancelled export orders and less than anticipated access to the
Western markets especially the United States.
The federal minister for commerce fears that at the
end of the current fiscal, the total exports from Pakistan may not hit
the mark of $9 billion. The Federal Board of Exports is likely to
announce a downward revision of the export target, which was set at
$10 billion for the current fiscal year.